History

Boris wouldn’t be the first to be brought down by a party

22 January 2022 9:00 am

Whatever the result of Sue Gray’s report on ‘gatherings’ in Downing Street, there is a political lesson to be learned:…

Our growing unwillingness to understand the past

18 December 2021 9:00 am

I was recently reading the works of the 17th-century antiquary John Aubrey, who at one point mentions a ghost craze…

Make History Great Again!

11 December 2021 6:00 pm

Why don’t today’s children know more about history? In an age when information has never been easier to access, it’s…

Why has medicine been so slow to improve over the centuries?

27 November 2021 9:00 am

Medicine was founded by Hippocrates in the 5th century BC. Doctors continued to study the Hippocratic texts into the 19th…

Can the fiasco of the Dieppe Raid really be excused?

6 November 2021 9:00 am

In my mother’s final days we had a long conversation about the second world war. I asked if she’d ever…

Use it or lose it: has the public library had its day?

30 October 2021 9:00 am

I write this in a garret a few doors down from the public library in Muswell Hill, north London. It…

The Globe, Plato and the corrupting force of art

30 October 2021 9:00 am

The Globe theatre’s project to ‘decolonise’ Shakespeare, as if that would make plays like The Tempest ‘acceptable’ to them and…

Twitter has taken the place of the ancient curse-tablet

23 October 2021 9:00 am

Twitter and other easily accessible means of online communication have encouraged the public to believe that Their Voice Will Be…

Rhodes, Columbus and the next heritage battle

17 October 2021 5:31 pm

On 12 October this year, Columbus Day, a statue of the Italian in Belgrave Square was vandalised by activists from…

What James Bond and Aristophanes have in common

9 October 2021 9:00 am

So James Bond is back, doing exactly what he always does, inviting the audience into a fantasy world for the…

No, America couldn’t have been Canada

29 September 2021 4:56 am

What if William Howe, the dithering British commander, hadn’t let the American army escape in the Battle of Long Island…

Most people who call themselves Caucasian know nothing about the Caucasus

11 September 2021 9:00 am

A magnificent new history of the Caucasus earns Peter Frankopan’s highest praise

How the ancients showed their true colours

4 September 2021 9:00 am

In the 18th century, art historians’ admiration for the beauty of white-ish ancient Greek marble statuary led people to draw…

My roots burnt with Greece

14 August 2021 11:30 pm

On 11 March this year my father passed away from prostate cancer after several weeks in a hospital in central…

Our need to get drunk in company may be innate

24 July 2021 9:00 am

It was once a favourite theory of optimistic drunkards that a suitably ‘moderate’ level of alcohol consumption provided covert health…

The disgraceful decision to remove Liverpool’s heritage status

23 July 2021 12:07 am

Unesco has cancelled the ‘World Heritage Status’ of the Necropolis at Memphis and the Giza Pyramid because a Radisson Blu…

How the ancients kept people behaving responsibly

17 July 2021 9:00 am

The Prime Minister is urging citizens not to throw caution to the winds when lockdown ends on 19 July but…

Tacitus and the hypocrisy of cancel culture

3 July 2021 9:00 am

The delicious hypocrisy at the heart of today’s cancel fraternity is that it is strongly opposed to censorship. Romans grappled…

Not so dryasdust: how 18th-century antiquarians proved the first ‘modern’ historians

3 July 2021 9:00 am

Antiquaries have had a bad press. If mentioned at all today, they are often derided as reclusive pedants poring over…

Journey to the end of the world: the full horror of the Belgica’s Antarctic expedition

3 July 2021 9:00 am

The epic story of the Antarctic voyage of the Belgica (1897-9) has all the ingredients of a truly glorious misadventure:…

What the EU could learn from the Athenian Empire

26 June 2021 9:00 am

The EU has regularly been likened to the Roman Empire. But its current direction suggests that the Athenian Empire (478-404…

What Dominic Cummings could learn from Xenophon

12 June 2021 9:00 am

On the subject of leadership, the Athenian soldier, historian, biographer and essayist Xenophon (c. 430-354 BC) had much to say,…

An orange or an egg? Determining the shape of the world

29 May 2021 9:00 am

Simon Winchester follows the volatile French mission to Ecuador in 1735 to determine the shape of the Earth

Animal sentience law has finally caught up with Plutarch’s thinking

22 May 2021 9:00 am

Almost no ancients cared whether animals felt pain or not. The classical Stoic belief that man’s reasoning capacity elevated him…

Virgil understood the great power of nature

15 May 2021 9:00 am

‘Georgics’ are an ancient form of poetry about agriculture and the land. The term derives from Greek gê ‘land’ +…